NEWS -- 2013.03.30.Saturday evening
- Saturday 30 March 2013
1) Scalia’s gay adoption claim: Even wronger than I thought
2) Marie Osmond Speaks Out for Marriage Equality: VIDEO
3) Monsanto Wrote Monsanto Protection Act
4) Monsanto Teams Up With Congress to Shred the Constitution
5) NationOfChange.org takes on Monsanto
6) The 10 Biggest Reasons Men Resent Their Wives
7) Sen. Portman’s Son Writes About Coming Out
8) PORTMAN: Coming out
9) Sexual Intelligence: “My Son Is Gay” is a Poor Reason to Support Gay Rights
10) Teenager Mistakes Little Brother for Intruder, Shoots Him
11) High school asks students to ax the Axe
12) CVS and over-weight workers
13) Discovery Docu-Special Uncovers the Secrets of the KKK [Exclusive Video]
Scalia’s gay adoption claim: Even wronger than I thought
By Ezra Klein, Updated: March 29, 2013
On Wednesday, I wrote about Justice Antonin Scalia’s comment that “there’s considerable disagreement among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a single-sex family, whether that is harmful to the child or not.”
It turns out Scalia’s comment was wronger than I thought — and wrong in a way that Scalia, in particular, should have known.
It relied, remember, on the idea that sociologists are, in some significant way, split on this question. That’s not what the American Sociological Association thinks. Here’s its official statement on the matter:
The claim that same-sex parents produce less positive child outcomes than opposite-sex parents—either because such families lack both a male and female parent or because both parents are not the biological parents of their children—contradicts abundant social science research. Decades of methodologically sound social science research, especially multiple nationally representative studies and the expert evidence introduced in the district courts below, confirm that positive child wellbeing is the product of stability in the relationship between the two parents, stability in the relationship between the parents and child, and greater parental socioeconomic resources. Whether a child is raised by same-sex or opposite-sex parents has no bearing on a child’s wellbeing.
The clear and consistent consensus in the social science profession is that across a wide range of indicators, children fare just as well when they are raised by same-sex parents when compared to children raised by opposite-sex parents.
Pretty definitive. And here’s the punchline: That paragraph isn’t buried in a press release on its blog or in an editorial from its trade magazine. It’s from the amicus curiae brief that the ASA filed in the very case Scalia was commenting on.
In other words, the official organization representing American sociologists went out of their way to provide the Supreme Court with their “consensus” opinion on the effect of same-sex parents on children. And yet, when struggling for a “concrete” harm that could come from gay marriage, Scalia went with “considerable disagreement among sociologists.” So we’ve gone from a weak claim — “considerable disagreement” over harm is not the same thing as actual harm — to an explicitly wrong claim. Scalia offered no details or evidence of this considerable disagreement among sociologists, and it’s hard to believe he’s a better judge of the profession than the ASA, whose brief he notably declined to mention.
Gay marriage’s opponents really have nothing to go on these days.
Marie Osmond Speaks Out for Marriage Equality: VIDEO
Marie Osmond tells Diane Sawyer she believes in marriage equality:
"The God that I believe in is a god of love, not fear. I don't tell my children if you're not good you're going to Hell. I tell my children that God will be there for them when they struggle. That's the God I believe in...I believe in [my lesbian daughter's] civil rights, as a mother. I think my daughter deserves everything that she desires in life. She's a good girl. She's a wonderful child. I don't think God made one color flower. I think he made many..."
--- click on URL to watch the video ---
Marie's oldest brother Alan and his wife served as emcees for a rally this week "benefitting the protection of marriage between a man and a woman" at the Utah capitol.
Monsanto Wrote Monsanto Protection Act
By Anthony Gucciardi, Natural Society
28 March 13
It should come as no surprise to many of you to find out that Monsanto actually authored the wording of its own Monsanto Protection Act hidden in the recently passed and signed Continuing Resolution spending bill. How could a major corporation write its own laws and regulations, you ask?
Quite frankly I think it's important to understand that the entire Senate passed the bill containing the Protection Act, but the politician who actually gave Monsanto the pen in order to write their very own legislation is no others than Roy Blunt - a Republican Senator from Missouri. As the latest IB Times article reveals, the Missouri politician worked with Monsanto to write the Monsanto Protection Act. This was confirmed by a New York news report I will get to shortly.
As you probably know I do not play the political clown game of left verses right, and instead highlight corruption and wrongdoing wherever it is found - regardless of party affiliation. In the case of Senator Blunt, he admits to colluding with Monsanto, a corporation that has literally been caught running 'slave-like' working conditions in which workers are unable to leave or eat (among many worse misdeeds).
This is one of the most blatant offenses against the citizens of the United States I've seen in a long time. A population that Blunt swore to serve. It's not for the United States public at all, and it's a serious matter that I don't think is properly understood. The passing of this bill into law means that Monsanto is now immune from federal courts regarding any suspension or action on their crops that have been deemed to be dangerous to the people (or the environment).
This means crops that were approved and later found to damage the environment or the public will be immune from United States government action. Theoretically, one million studies could find that Monsanto's latest creation was causing a massive cancer wave and under this law Monsanto could continue to peddle the crop to the public. The federal courts would (or will) be helpless to stop Monsanto, effectively giving Monsanto power over the entire branch of the United States government. Food Democracy Now, a major activist organization that organized signatures to fight the Monsanto Protection Act, described the rider:
"The Monsanto Protection Act would force the USDA to allow continued planting of any GMO crop under court review, essentially giving backdoor approval for any new genetically engineered crops that could be potentially harmful to human health or the environment."
Sounds like a great idea, right?
Serving Corporations, Not People
Senator Roy Blunt and those who knowingly passed the Monsanto Protection Act (including President Obama who signed it into law just last night) have chosen to serve corporations over people. Ironic, really, as corporations legally are people - a legal area commonly used to avoid real jail sentences for major CEOs and executives who knowingly were involved with the deaths of consumers around the world.
It's sad, really. I read up on Senator Blunt, and he does seem to constantly side with corporations over the public. Even on his Wikipedia page one line reads that Blunt "consistently sided with Big Oil and other dirty polluters over a cleaner, more sustainable future."I was even able to find a quote by Blunt defending his decision to allow Monsanto to write its own regulation through the Monsanto Protection Act. He told the NY Daily News in defense of the Monsanto Protection Act and his relationship with the company in writing the rider:
"What it says is if you plant a crop that is legal to plant when you plant it, you get to harvest it."
I think Blunt is confused over which 'people' he is serving. I created this image to call Blunt out on his open decision to side with Monsanto over the public:
You can contact Senator Blunt through his website and let him know what you think about his decision to let Monsanto write its own Protection Act. No longer can we sit idly by while corporate juggernauts like Monsanto triumph over the people through swindling and deceit. Share this article, the image, and publicly denounce all politicians willing to sell their souls to Monsanto.
Lots of comments at the URL.
See Also: Obama Signs Monsanto Protection Act
Monsanto Teams Up With Congress to Shred the Constitution
By Michele Simon, Reader Supported News
29 March 13
Our founding fathers, white-maleness aside, did get a few things right. One of them was the concept of "separation of powers," to ensure a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. But a dangerous provision snuck into the budget bill passed last week in Congress upends that system. Without any hearings on the matter, the Senate included language that would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to essentially ignore any court ruling that would otherwise halt the planting of new genetically-engineered crops. Here is how Capital Press explains it:
The rider pertains to transgenic crops that have been deregulated by the USDA but then had that approval overturned by a judge -- a scenario that has occurred with genetically engineered alfalfa and sugar beets.
In such a situation, the agency "shall" immediately issue permits or a partial deregulation order that would temporarily allow farmers to continue growing and selling the crop until USDA is done re-evaluating its environmental effects, according to the rider. Why is this such a big deal? The court system is often our last hope, with Congress, the White House, and regulatory agencies deep inside industry's pocket. Several legal challenges have resulted in court decisions overturning USDA's approval of new GMO crops, for example, sugar beets.
Why is this such a big deal? The court system is often our last hope, with Congress, the White House, and regulatory agencies deep inside industry's pocket. Several legal challenges have resulted in court decisions overturning USDA's approval of new GMO crops, for example, sugar beets.
So the biotech industry, unable to make its case to a judge, figured why not just rewrite the Constitution instead, with the help of a Democratic Senate led by Senator Barbara Mikulski, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Despite Montana Senator Jon Tester's best attempts to stop the so-called biotech rider, the measure was pushed through. (Industry had tried to get a similar measure passed more than once last year.) Tester minced no words, in a recent article in POLITICO about this and other industry power grabs such as weakening small farmer protections:
These provisions are giveaways, pure and simple, and will be a boon worth millions of dollars to a handful of the biggest corporations in this country. They deserve no place in this bill. We simply have got to do better on both policy and process.
If President Obama signs the budget deal with this provision, it could have long-lasting and serious consequences. This list of pending petitions to USDA to approve genetically-engineered crops includes new versions of corn, soybean, canola, and cotton. Once these crops get planted, it will be too late to do much about it. That's why groups such as the Center for Food Safety file lawsuits when USDA turns a blind eye to the potentially harmful environmental consequences of these unique crops.
Here is how Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, described the situation:
In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto. This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Senator Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.
The biotech industry, with the help of Congress, is attempting an end-run of the judicial system. Since judges can't get be bought off, just go to your friends in Congress instead.
Unfortunately, most of the mainstream media have not picked up on this unprecedented Big Biotech power grab, and in the case of NPR, has even spread misinformation about the rider's effects:
But a closer look at the language of the provision suggests it may not be granting the USDA any powers it doesn't already have.
"It's not clear that this provision radically changes the powers USDA has under the law," Greg Jaffe, director of the Biotechnology Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, tells The Salt.
This interpretation was echoed, unsurprisingly, by the biotech industry, in Capital Express:
"It doesn't require the USDA to do anything it wouldn't otherwise have the authority to do," said Karen Batra, communications director for the Biotechnology Industry Organization. "The language is there to protect farmers who have already made planting decisions."
But as Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety explains, the new language makes what is currently discretionary or optional on USDA's part, mandatory, a huge difference:
The word "shall" forces the USDA to continue allowing biotech crop cultivation even if its commercialization was overturned. They've taken away the discretion of the secretary of agriculture. Its real not-so-hidden purpose is to take away the ability to effectively vacate the approval of a crop that's been approved illegally.
If there is any good news, it's that the continuing resolution the provision hitched a ride on is only valid for six months. But industry seems confident it can make the workaround permanent. Likely what will follow is a protracted court battle over the policy's constitutionality; remember that whole separation of powers thing? Still, any such legal challenge will likely take years to be resolved. Even USDA thinks the provision is unconstitutional. Secretary Vilsack's office told POLITICO that he has asked the Office of General Council to review the language, "as it appears to pre-empt judicial review of a deregulatory action which may make the provision unenforceable."
Meanwhile, the grassroots movement continues to grow to demand labeling of foods containing genetically-engineered ingredients. While important, we cannot let labeling distract us from pro-biotech policies at the other end of production. The fewer GMO crops that are allowed to be planted in the first place, the fewer end-products containing GMOs.
But it's not too late. You can still demand that President Obama refuse to sign the budget bill into law unless the biotech rider (aka Monsanto Protection Act) is removed. Food Democracy Now! has already gathered more than 175,000 signatures demanding Obama do the right thing. From that organization's action alert:
By sneaking Section 735 into a federal appropriations bills, Monsanto has successfully planted a dangerous provision in U.S. law that strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect American's health and the environment while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new, untested genetically engineered crops.
Even if their new GMO crops are ultimately proven to be harmful to human health or the environment, Section 735 allows them to be planted the minute the USDA approves them!
Even more alarming, currently 13 new crops are awaiting approval at the USDA and AquaBounty's GMO salmon is on the verge of being approved by the FDA. This new provision opens the door wide open for these approvals.
If the biotech industry can so easily override our court system, which is our last resort in stopping these dangerous crops from being planted, we will have no place left to turn. And Monsanto will have completed its hostile takeover of the U.S. government.
Take action now by calling and emailing the White House here.
Lots more comments at the URL.
30 March 2013
This month, we are taking the fight against corporate killer, MONSANTO to the next level.
We have only a few more days to meet our goal of $20,000 for a high-profile billboard ad campaign in Los Angeles, California to expose the crimes of biotech giant MONSANTO and educate the public on how corporate greed is putting their families in danger. This campaign is funded 100% by our readers’ tax-deductible donations from our readers -- you. We need your help to make this possible.
Issues the campaign will focus on:
a.. The recently-passed Monsanto Protection Act placing Monsanto beyond the reach of the Federal Government 
b.. Monsanto’s multi-million dollar efforts to squash GMO labelling in California 
c.. The real science surrounding the negative health impact of GMO products 
d.. The catastrophic environmental effects Monsanto’s Roundup has wrought upon ecosystems 
If you feel that Monsanto’s corruption, exploitation, and destruction have gone far enough, stand with us now with your tax-deductible contribution.
As a special incentive, leading Monsanto investigative reporter, Anthony Gucciardi has donated his electronic book set: “The New Health Paradigm” as well as a “Shopping guide to GMOs and additives” yours free with any donation of $50 or more to this campaign.
For those who donate $100 or more, we’ll give also give you a physical copy of “Seeds of Deception”. This explosive exposé reveals what the biotech industry doesn’t want you to know—how industry manipulation and political collusion, not sound science, allow dangerous genetically engineered food into your daily diet.
Thank you for all that you do.
Donna Luca, Board President,
and the NationofChange Team
The 10 Biggest Reasons Men Resent Their Wives
By Woman s Day | Love + Sex – Fri, Mar 29, 2013 3:38 PM EDT
By Kerry Miller
Despite the picture-perfect impressions we get from upbeat Facebook posts or boastful holiday letters, even the healthiest marriages aren't 100% free of conflict. At some point, virtually everyone feels wronged by a romantic partner. Bob Navarra, PsyD, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), says that those feelings aren't what throw a marriage off course-it's how couples handle them. "While it may be frustrating that the toothpaste cap was left off, happy couples talk about these small things," he says. But when those emotions are swept under the rug, a more toxic variety of negativity begins to fester: resentment. Here, marriage experts share some of the most common reasons husbands resent their wives and how to protect your relationship. Photo by Getty Images.
1. Not fighting fair.
Happy couples don't necessarily fight less, Dr. Navarra says; they just fight better, by "describing their own feelings and needs rather than labeling their partner as faulty." And the ball is probably in your court for that. Research shows that wives are more likely to bring up problems for discussion, while husbands are more likely to withdraw at the first sign of an argument. When this keeps happening, women tend to start conversations on a negative note, which only makes things worse. Instead of resorting to personal attacks-"You're such a slob!" "We're going to be late because of you!"-which lead to defensiveness, Dr. Navarra recommends sticking to "I-statements," such as "When (this happens), I feel (frustrated, angry). What I needed was..."
Related: 9 Fights You Should Have With Your Husband.
2. Treating him like a child.
"A big issue I see in couples is a man resenting his partner because he feels she talks down to him," says Mary Kelleher, LMFT. This can leave him feeling "less-than," and nothing triggers resentment faster than inadequacy. So avoid threatening his independence-the way pressuring him to go for a promotion so he'll bring home more money may be perceived-suggests couples therapist Vagdevi Meunier, PsyD. "No one wants to feel 'managed' by a spouse," Dr. Meunier says
3. Involving other people in your marriage.
What you might think of as harmless complaining to friends and family can actually break your husband's trust. It threatens the safety of the "couple bubble" you've created together. "Men find this humiliating and hurtful," says Norene Gonsiewski, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a couples' therapist at the Portland Relationship Center in Oregon. If you really need to vent, consider talking to a doctor or therapist to keep things confidential.
Related: 25 Ways To Improve Your Relationship
4. Not showing appreciation for thing he does right.
"Men will never ask for it," Gonsiewski says, but regular doses of praise are important. "They need to hear that their wives are proud of them." Scott Haltzman, MD, author of The Secrets of Happily Married Women, notes that men tend to be more action-oriented than women, which means they show affection in different ways. "He may empty the dishwasher as a way of saying he cares about you." Haltzman's suggestion: "Pay attention to what he does, and let him know you notice."
5. Withholding sex as punishment.
While women generally need emotional intimacy to make love, men express emotional intimacy through sex, says Marla Taviano, author of Is that All He Thinks About? When a wife turns down sex, in her husband's mind, "she's turning him down as a person," explains Taviano. Using sex as a bargaining chip to get your needs meet isn't negotiating-it's emotional blackmail, which can alienate him. "Withholding sex may make your partner feel less love from you and give you less love in return," says Dr. Haltzman.
Related: 8 Secrets of Sexually Satisfied Couples.
6. Trying to change him.
"Every person can change, but it's better to focus on our own changes, rather than our spouse's behaviors," says Anne Ziff, LMFT, author of Marrying Well. And yet, some women see marriage as a starting point for a "husband makeover." This isn't all bad-studies show that married men tend to eat healthier and have fewer problems with drugs and alcohol than single guys-but avoid creating a relationship in which your husband can't be himself. "When a man feels his home is not his castle, and he can't just be a guy-whether it's walking around in his boxers or letting out a burp-he'll feel like he's been put in a box where he has to act prim and proper all the time," Dr. Meunier says. Sometimes, it's smarter to let the little things slide.
7. Making important decisions without his input.
Research shows that money is a top source of disagreements among married couples, even those with bigger budgets. In a lot of ways, money equals power, and balancing power is important to harmonious relationships, Meunier says. Whether you're considering booking a vacation or buying a dishwasher, your partner deserves a say. The same goes for decisions that affect how you and your husband spend your time, such as inviting company over for dinner or signing up your kids for soccer. Although it may seem simpler to beg for forgiveness instead of getting him on board, unilateral decision making can drive you two apart.
8. Not giving him the chance to be the kind of dad he wants to be.
Mothers often parent differently than fathers, but not necessarily better. For instance, some studies show that parenting styles more common with dads, such as rough-and-tumble play, offer children unique developmental benefits. "Men's resentment grows as their children develop with gaps in their competency and independence, two attributes men rate highly," Gonsiewski says. "When a woman doesn't trust her husband to parent she sends a message that he's wrong and only she's right." Instead, "reinforce your husband for the positive contributions he makes to your children's lives," Dr. Haltzman recommends.
9. Acting jealous when he looks at other women.
Men are visual creatures, Dr. Meunier says, so it's not surprising that a typical heterosexual man would notice a good-looking woman. "Women who understand this and don't take it personally minimize unproductive fights about jealousy." When a wife overreacts to a situation, her husband will likely feel defensive, and eventually, resentful. Dr. Meunier's advice? "Chill out." Responding to a visual cue isn't cause for worry, she says-curious comments or behaviors, like dropping your hand to head across the room to talk to another woman, could signify a lack of commitment to you.
10. Expecting immediate forgiveness after you apologize.
Studies show that seeking and granting forgiveness greatly contributes to marital satisfaction and longevity. But beware of empty words. While apologizing manages conflict, Dr. Navarra says a simple "I'm sorry" often isn't enough. To truly earn her husband's forgiveness, a wife needs to show that she understands why her husband is upset. Dr. Haltzman recommends being specific about what you're apologizing for, accepting responsibility for what you did, acknowledging that you what you did was harmful and lastly, asking what you can do to make it up to him. "If you've gotten to the first three steps cleanly, most men will say 'forget about it' to the last question," Dr. Haltzman says.
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Sen. Portman’s Son Writes About Coming Out
By Jilian Fama
Mar 25, 2013 10:22am
Two weeks after his Republican senator dad announced his support for gay marriage and one day before the Supreme Court is to hear arguments on the issue, 21 year-old Will Portman penned an editorial in the Yale Daily News describing how he came out as gay.
“In February of freshman year, I decided to write a letter to my parents. I’d tried to come out to them in person over winter break but hadn’t been able to. So I found a cubicle in Bass Library one day and went to work. Once I had something I was satisfied with, I overnighted it to my parents and awaited a response,” Portman writes.
“They called as soon as they got the letter. They were surprised to learn I was gay, and full of questions, but absolutely rock-solid supportive. That was the beginning of the end of feeling ashamed about who I was.”
Read More at the ABC News Gay Marriage Topics Page.
In his piece Will Portman discusses the difficulty of coming out about his sexuality as his father was being vetted for the vice presidency. Though he admits that his coming out prompted he and his father to begin talking about the policy issues surrounding marriage for same-sex couples, Portman writes that he did not want his sexual orientation to become an issue during the presidential campaign.
“My dad told the Romney campaign that I was gay, that he and my mom were supportive and proud of their son, and that we’d be open about it on the campaign trail.”
Portman continues, “When he ultimately wasn’t chosen for the ticket, I was pretty relieved to have avoided the spotlight of a presidential campaign. Some people have criticized my dad for waiting for two years after I came out to him before he endorsed marriage for gay couples. Part of the reason for that is that it took time for him to think through the issue more deeply after the impetus of my coming out. But another factor was my reluctance to make my personal life public.”
That “rock-solid support” that Will attributes to his father was made evident earlier this month when Sen. Portman publically reversed his opposition to gay marriage.
“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman wrote in an op-ed that ran in the Columbus Dispatch.
Portman came out in support of gay marriage at a crucial time. This week the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Proposition 8 and DOMA, two potentially transformative cases regarding the very issue that Portman’s son had been urging the senator to consider since he came out during his freshman year of college.
PORTMAN: Coming out
By Will Portman
Monday, March 25, 2013
I came to Yale as a freshman in the fall of 2010 with two big uncertainties hanging over my head: whether my dad would get elected to the Senate in November, and whether I’d ever work up the courage to come out of the closet.
I made some good friends that first semester, took a couple of interesting classes and got involved in a few rewarding activities. My dad won his election. On the surface, things looked like they were going well. But the truth was, I wasn’t happy.
I’d make stuff up when my suitemates and I would talk about our personal lives. I remember going to a dance in the Trumbull dining hall with a girl in my class and feeling guilty about pretending to be somebody I wasn’t. One night, I snuck up to the stacks in Sterling Library and did some research on coming out. The thought of telling people I was gay was pretty terrifying, but I was beginning to realize that coming out, however difficult it seemed, was a lot better than the alternative: staying in, all alone.
I worried about how my friends back home would react when I told them I was gay. Would they stop hanging out with me? Would they tell me they were supportive, but then slowly distance themselves? And what about my friends at Yale, the “Gay Ivy”? Would they criticize me for not having come out earlier? Would they be able to understand my anxiety about all of this? I felt like I didn’t quite fit in with Yale or Cincinnati, or with gay or straight culture.
In February of freshman year, I decided to write a letter to my parents. I’d tried to come out to them in person over winter break but hadn’t been able to. So I found a cubicle in Bass Library one day and went to work. Once I had something I was satisfied with, I overnighted it to my parents and awaited a response.
They called as soon as they got the letter. They were surprised to learn I was gay, and full of questions, but absolutely rock-solid supportive. That was the beginning of the end of feeling ashamed about who I was.
I still had a ways to go, though. By the end of freshman year, I’d only come out to my parents, my brother and sister, and two friends. One day that summer, my best friend from high school and I were hanging out.
“There’s something I need to tell you,” I finally said. “I’m gay.” He paused for a second, looked down at the ground, looked back up, and said, “Me too.”
I was surprised. At first it was funny, and we made jokes about our lack of gaydar. Then it was kind of sad to realize that we’d been going through the same thing all along but hadn’t felt safe enough to confide in each other. But then, it was pretty cool — we probably understood each other’s situation at that moment better than anybody else could.
In the weeks that followed, I got serious about coming out. I made a list of my family and friends and went through the names, checking them off one by one as I systematically filled people in on who I really was. A phone call here, a Skype call there, a couple of meals at Skyline Chili, my favorite Cincinnati restaurant. I was fortunate that virtually everyone, both from Yale and from home, was supportive and encouraging, calming my fears about how they’d react to my news. If anything, coming out seemed to strengthen my friendships and family relationships.
I started talking to my dad more about being gay. Through the process of my coming out, we’d had a tacit understanding that he was my dad first and my senator a distant second. Eventually, though, we began talking about the policy issues surrounding marriage for same-sex couples.
The following summer, the summer of 2012, my dad was under consideration to be Gov. Romney’s running mate. The rest of my family and I had given him the go-ahead to enter the vetting process. My dad told the Romney campaign that I was gay, that he and my mom were supportive and proud of their son, and that we’d be open about it on the campaign trail.
When he ultimately wasn’t chosen for the ticket, I was pretty relieved to have avoided the spotlight of a presidential campaign. Some people have criticized my dad for waiting for two years after I came out to him before he endorsed marriage for gay couples. Part of the reason for that is that it took time for him to think through the issue more deeply after the impetus of my coming out. But another factor was my reluctance to make my personal life public.
We had decided that my dad would talk about having a gay son if he were to change his position on marriage equality. It would be the only honest way to explain his change of heart. Besides, the fact that I was gay would probably become public anyway. I had encouraged my dad all along to change his position, but it gave me pause to think that the one thing that nobody had known about me for so many years would suddenly become the one thing that everybody knew about me.
It has been strange to have my personal life in the headlines. I could certainly do without having my sexual orientation announced on the evening news, or commentators weighing in to tell me things like living my life honestly and fully is “harmful to [me] and society as a whole.” But in many ways it’s been a privilege to come out so publicly. Now, my friends at Yale and the folks in my dad’s political orbit in Ohio are all on the same page. They know two things about me that I’m very proud of, not just one or the other: that I’m gay, and that I’m Rob and Jane Portman’s son.
I’m grateful to be able to continue to integrate my two worlds, the yin and yang of Yale and Ohio and the different values and experiences they represent in my life. When you find yourself between two worlds — for example, if you’re navigating the transition between a straight culture and a gay identity — it’s possible to feel isolated and alone, like you don’t fit in with either group that makes up a part of who you are.
But instead of feeling like you don’t belong anywhere, or like you have to reject one group in order to join another, you can build a bridge between your two worlds, and work to facilitate greater understanding between them.
I support marriage for same-sex couples because I believe that everybody should be treated the same way and have the same shot at happiness. Over the course of our country’s history the full rights of citizenship have gradually been extended to a broader and broader group of people, something that’s made our society stronger, not weaker. Gay rights may be the civil rights cause of the moment, but the movement fits into a larger historical narrative.
I’m proud of my dad, not necessarily because of where he is now on marriage equality (although I’m pretty psyched about that), but because he’s been thoughtful and open-minded in how he’s approached the issue, and because he’s shown that he’s willing to take a political risk in order to take a principled stand. He was a good man before he changed his position, and he’s a good man now, just as there are good people on either side of this issue today.
We’re all the products of our backgrounds and environments, and the issue of marriage for same-sex couples is a complicated nexus of love, identity, politics, ideology and religious beliefs. We should think twice before using terms like “bigoted” to describe the position of those opposed to same-sex marriage or “immoral” to describe the position of those in favor, and always strive to cultivate humility in ourselves as we listen to others’ perspectives and share our own.
I hope that my dad’s announcement and our family’s story will have a positive impact on anyone who is closeted and afraid, and questioning whether there’s something wrong with them. I’ve been there. If you’re there now, please know that things really do get better, and they will for you too.
Will Portman is a junior in Trumbull College.
Lots of comments at the URL.
Sexual Intelligence: “My Son Is Gay” is a Poor Reason to Support Gay Rights
March 21, 2013
You’ve probably heard that Ohio ultra-conservative Senator Rob Portman has changed his position and now supports same-gender marriage—because, he says, his son is gay.
That’s great for progressives. But…
Wanting equal rights for your son is a poor reason to support equal rights for a class of people. It reflects exactly the kind of tribalism that’s preventing most of the Arab world and Africa from creating secular democracies. In Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, "voting" is simple: Sunnis vote for Sunnis, Shia for Shia, Kurds for Kurds, and so on. This isn’t voting—it’s tribal warfare brought indoors.
There are still no civic institutions knitting together the countries of Iraq or Afghanistan, or of Syria, Lebanon, Albania, Rwanda, Azerbaijan, and other places where ethnicity and family history are more important than national identity.
Senator Portman sees public policy as a way of comforting his family, not of nourishing the American people. His statements this week showed no recognition of any actual principle of fairness. He acknowledges that his past opposition to civil rights for gay people is rooted in his faith tradition—itself a bizarre, if too-common, abdication of his legislative responsibility. He now says he sees gay couples’ desire to marry as a tribute to marriage rather than a threat, recalling the old fear that giving Blacks civil rights would endanger the rights of Whites. He also says his new position is rooted in the Biblical value of compassion.
But as inappropriate as it is to reference his nouveau interpretation of the Bible for a legislative position, he isn’t extending this “compassion” to any other Americans in any other situations.
So this is a mind that has not opened. Because, as Portman himself said, he’s "had a change of heart based upon a personal experience”—not social science, not Constitutional analysis, not a desire to extend America’s promises to all its inhabitants.
In order to implement this Biblical “compassion” among the rest of his eleven million non-gay constituents, does Portman require a daughter who needs an abortion, a son who marries outside his race, a grandchild with a mental illness, or an elderly parent who can’t afford medical care? For the good of the nation, should we hope that Portman’s brother is swept up in an FBI sting while enjoying age-play fantasies in an adult chat room?
Our government confers dozens of civil rights on everyone who marries. Thus, all adults should be eligible to marry, or the government should stop privileging married people and simply go out of the marriage business.
So I’m glad to have Portman’s support for extending the option of marriage to non-heterosexual Americans. But this support is just a kinder, gentler version of political opportunism. Instead of voting in a way that lines his pocket, he’s now voting to enrich his son’s life. Other gay men and women will benefit. But anyone else who needs “compassion”—or as I call it, civil rights—will have to wait until the next development in Portman’s private life.
Dr. Marty Klein has been a sex educator for 30 years. He is the author of America’s War on Sex: The Attack on Law, Lust, and Liberty and blogs for Sexual Intelligence. This article first appeared on the author’s blog, which has been edited for content.
Teenager Mistakes Little Brother for Intruder, Shoots Him
By GILLIAN MOHNEY | ABC News – Sat, Mar 23, 2013
A teenager shot and killed his 12-year-old brother because he mistook him for an intruder in their Florida home, police said today.
According to police the 16-year-old was home alone on Friday when his younger brother came home.
"He heard some noises and he called out for his brother and he didn't answer and then his brother startled him," Orlando Police Department Detective Mike Moreschi told ABCNews.com affiliate WFTV.
Scared that there was an intruder in the home, the older boy grabbed a gun and shot his brother, according to police. Once the teen realized what had happened, he immediately called 911.
The younger boy was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The teenager and his parents were taken to the police station for questioning and released hours later.
"He's devastated, obviously. His parents are devastated by what happened and it's just a really bad situation for the family," Moreschi said.
Police said the teenager would not be charged with any crime related to the shooting, although the state attorney's office will review the case for possible negligence.
Neighbors of the family were in disbelief over the shooting.
"All I can say is it's so scary," Julia Bracey told WFTV. "It's heartbreaking I can't imagine what the parents are going through right now."
Francis Ikwueme, who also lives near the family in the Orange County subdivision, found the shooting devastating.
"It cuts deep and it breaks my heart," Ikwueme told WFTV. "There was the shooting up in Connecticut. Anytime young life or life in general has to be cut short senselessly, it's a very unfortunate thing."
High school asks students to ax the Axe
By Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News | The Sideshow – Wednesday 20 March 2013
Discovery Docu-Special Uncovers the Secrets of the KKK [Exclusive Video]
'KKK: Beneath the Hood' reveals the origins of the Ku Klux Klan and the identities of some of its high-profile members.
By Maya Salam | Yahoo! TV – Wednesday 20 March 2013
[ Videos at URL ]
Wednesday night, Discovery Channel will air a one-hour special, "KKK: Beneath the Hood," that delves into the truths and secrets behind one of the largest surviving white-supremacist organizations, the Ku Klux Klan. This exclusive clip from the docu-special reveals that the organization, which was formed on Christmas Eve of 1865 (the same year the American Civil War ended), began in an unexpected way: as a sophomoric gag. In his first televised interview, Richard Bondira, a Traditionalist American Knights member, talks about the Klan's surprising origins.
According to Bondira, the group began "innocently enough in a law office in Pulaski, Tennessee." Six Confederate Civil War veterans were deciding how to occupy their time now that the war was over, Bondira continued, and they agreed that forming a mysterious organization similar to college fraternities -- in which they could engage in pranks and hazing -- would be fun.
It was during this time that the name Ku Klux Klan was conceived. At first, the name was not intended to be menacing, Bondira said; "Ku Klux" was a variation of the Greek word "kýklos," which means wheel or band.
It wasn't long, though, before the organization turned violent and terroristic. In 1869, the first era of the Klan disbanded under pressure from the federal government, but factions of the KKK continue to exist to this day. Discovery was able to gain access via acclaimed photojournalist Anthony Karen, who has long documented the secret world of the Klan (as well as White Nationalists, the Westboro Baptist Church, the Maricopa County Jail, and more).
In this additional clip from tonight's docu-special, more little-known aspects of Klan members' existence are revealed -- specifically that there was an entire pop-culture movement (movies and music included) exclusive to the Klan. Bondira shares his collection of KKK artifacts -- something he's never done with non-Klan members. He calls these pop-culture relics "the great lost mystery" and reads off some titles from the Klan's albums: "The Klansmen and the Rain," "We Belong to the Ku Klux Klan," and "The Gathering Klan." At the time, these albums were widely available at record and department stores, Bondira says.
In 1915, the second iteration of the KKK had emerged. According to the documentary, this second era of the Klan, which was relatively mainstream at this point, grew to tremendous numbers (approximately 4 million by 1925), and was not necessarily stronger in the South than the North.
The popularity of the organization at that time resulted in some high-profile members. It is speculated that Harry Truman, 33rd president of the United States, was a member from 1920 to 1922, but his family -- to this day -- denies his membership. On the other hand, Warren G. Harding, the 29th president, was actually sworn in as a Klansman in the White House.
No topic is taboo in this Discovery special event, from cross-burning ceremonies to in-depth interviews with Klansmen of all ranks. Filmmakers even go inside the home of a Klan family.
"KKK: Beneath the Hood" airs Wednesday, 3/20 at 8 PM on Discovery.
Late, but same old bigotry --->
Family Research Council
March 20, 2013
Are Voters Getting Cold Feet on Same-sex 'Marriage'?
The Washington Post thought it knew where the American people stood on marriage. Just two days ago, news outlets were plastering its poll results of "record" backing for same-sex "marriage" on their websites--only to see the support vanish as quickly as it appeared. Today, the Reuters Corporation released the results of an even bigger poll than the Post's and found that only 41% of America supports the case being made by Ted Olson and David Boies at the Supreme Court. In an astonishingly large survey sample, 24,455 people (23,000 more than the Washington Post's survey!), barely four out of 10 Americans thought homosexuals should be allowed to "marry." Those numbers are far and away more consistent with the findings of trustworthy survey houses in the last few months on marriage. It also shows the unreliability of the media's polling. In 48 hours, we've seen a 17-point swing in public opinion on marriage. Of course, as we mentioned yesterday, the Post's questions were specifically structured to generate a more favorable response. When you frame the debate as the Post did--in criminal terms--Americans are far more wary of opposing same-sex "marriage." In the meantime, Reuters' numbers are even more significant when you consider that they come from a news agency with a public interest in redefining marriage. Last month, the Reuters Corp. threw objectivity out the window by signing on to an amicus brief urging the court to embrace same-sex "marriage." If 41% was all the support Reuters could scrounge up for same-sex "marriage," then you know they exhausted every avenue trying to push that number higher--and couldn't. Let me be very clear: we don't arrive at our policy positions because of polls. The point of sharing this is to once again draw attention to the media's efforts to make you feel that same-sex "marriage" is inevitable--and that everyone but YOU thinks it's okay. Trust me, as this latest poll shows, you're far from alone in your support for natural marriage. Encourage your family and friends by sharing this truth with them!
My comment as usual ---
Nobody knows how to lie and bear false witness like a Southern Baptist.
They keep on trying to be bigots --->
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Going DUMB on DOMA
Today was the second historic hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the future of marriage in America. Today, they heard a challenge to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA is not new to FRC because we helped lead the efforts for it in the 90s. The Defense of Marriage Act specified that states would not have to recognize same-sex "marriages" from other states and defined marriage for all federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman. Only the latter provision has been challenged in court, but advocates for redefining marriage have been simultaneously trying to repeal the entire law in Congress.
The legal arguments today were complicated by the fact that President Obama and his Justice Department have chosen to abdicate their responsibility to defend federal laws in court, and have instead joined in declaring DOMA unconstitutional. This forced the House of Representatives, in the form of its "Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group" (BLAG), to intervene to defend the law. FRC's Senior Fellows Chris Gacek and Ken Klukowski, both attorneys, were at the Supreme Court for the oral arguments, and Chris said not to believe media spin that DOMA took a total beating. He reported that Paul Clement, the former U.S. Solicitor General hired by the House BLAG to defend DOMA, gave the strongest performance of any attorney in the two days of arguments.
No amount of legal footwork by those seeking redefinition of marriage can change the fact that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad. It's not just about love between adults, it's about civilization. That's a compelling reason for both California and the federal government to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and for the Supreme Court to uphold both Proposition 8 and DOMA.
Here's more from the FRC --->
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Reince and Repeat?
It took a House and Senate override to do it, but Kentucky can finally celebrate the enactment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bill, whose sponsor was a state Democrat, cruised to the simple majority it needed to overturn Governor Steve Beshear's veto. Under the law, men and women of faith can no longer be threatened for acting out their conscience on issues of moral principle. In the end, Gov. Beshear, who was under intense pressure from the Left, caved to the false argument that Christians would use the law to somehow discriminate against homosexuals.
In fact, the exact opposite is true! This law was necessary--not because homosexuals were vulnerable to harassment--but because Christians are. As we've seen in small businesses and faith-based groups across the country, the Left's totalitarian tactics continue to trump Americans' First Amendment rights. Everyone from wedding cake bakers to high school teachers should be free to express their beliefs without fear of retribution. Fortunately, 17 states agree and have moved to give their people the religious protections they deserve.
Meanwhile, the Bluegrass State had plenty of other reasons to cheer before the session adjourned. Lawmakers also passed tighter bans on human sex trafficking and child pornography--and still had time to stop the expansion of gambling and support Christian Medi-Share ministries. So when the Republican National Committee says the GOP needs to replicate the success conservatives have had in the states, I couldn't agree more.
Of course, what RNC Chair Reince Priebus doesn't acknowledge is that a big source of that success is rooted in the same pro-life, pro-family issues the GOP would like to ignore. If state leaders have "campaigned and governed in a manner that is inclusive and appealing," it's because the social conservative movement is more far more popular with the American people than the RNC gives it credit for. Much of what these states are accomplishing--heartbeat bills, fetal pain bills, informed consent laws, bans on telemed abortions, rebukes of same-sex "marriage" and civil unions, ObamaCare abortion opt-outs, sex selection bans--are driven by an agenda the national Republican Party has tossed aside. If the states "point the way forward," as the RNC's report suggests, then it's because they aren't afraid to govern by the values their party is supposed to represent.
My comment as usual ---
Nobody knows how to lie and bear false witness like a Southern Baptist.
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